The time has come, and a caregiver needs to go in and help with your aging loved one. It is an awkward time since you are asking a stranger to come in and care for someone important to you in their home. There are personalities and trust issues to deal with. Everyone wants the best, but figuring it out is overwhelming. This area is uncommon for most people, so they need to know which questions to ask caregivers or what to look for. Critical caregiving attributes are positive, engaging, motivated, honest, reliable, flexible, patient, and kind. The first question is, which type of caregiver do you want?
Self-employed caregiver versus agency caregiver?
Self-employed caregivers can be beneficial since you deal directly with a caregiver. You don’t have to deal with a 3rd party or multiple caregivers; you know all the money goes to them. The downside of dealing with a self-employed caregiver is possible liability exposure since they could sue if a caregiver gets injured during their duties as a keeper. Another downside is no backup available if that caregiver is unavailable.
An agency caregiver works for a company. The company pays the caregiver and provides the necessary insurance reducing the liability exposure to the client. Plus, if the caregiver is unavailable, they can pull from their resources to find a backup caregiver. The downside is that people may have multiple caregivers and have to deal with a third party. Plus, the agency keeps a portion of the payment to cover administrative expenses, taxes, and insurance.
Do you have experience dealing with dementia or Alzheimers, or any conditions your loved one has?
Do you have experience with individuals who use wheelchairs?
What is your experience with medical equipment (i.e. can they take a patient’s blood pressure?)
What services do you provide?
Housekeeping: Will they do the dishes? What do they define as light housekeeping?
Meal preparation: Can they cook? What can they make?
Shopping: Do they grocery shop? Can they pick things up from a store or pharmacy? Does the patient have to accompany for shopping or will they go alone? What is their policy for paying if the caregiver goes shopping alone?
Driving: Can they take a person to their appointments? Who’s car will they use? If they use their vehicle, will they get reimbursed for the mileage, and at what rate?
Do you keep a journal of your time with the person to help document how the person is doing and what they did?
What is your communication policy?
How would you notify someone of any concerns observed?
How and when would you communicate with a patient’s family?
How and when would you communicate with a medical professional?